If nothing else, you can’t say that Dana White is not persistent. As soon as John Cholish dropped out of his UFC on Fox 5 fight against Yves Edwards, it was reported that Jeremy Stephens would be stepping in to take his place. If you recall, this bout was originally booked for UFC on FX 5 last month, but was cancelled at literally the last minute when White could not get Stephens out of a Minneapolis jail to take part in the fight. I remember Dana’s twitter giving a play by play of him talking to a jailer trying to negotiate to get Stephens out, just to have him returned later.
First off, only in MMA can an athlete’s participation be cancelled at the last minute due to incarceration. Can you imagine the ESPN bottomline saying an NFL player was “questionable (incarceration)”? Roger Goodell would have an aneurysm at the thought of a player jailed, let alone possibly being escorted out of jail and directly onto the field. It’s part of the reason why I love MMA so much.
Second, I am actually very excited to see the Edwards-Stephens bout re-booked on such short order. Although both guys have had their recent struggles, this fight should be a pretty entertaining scrap. Other than an absolute stinker against Melvin Guillard (that I drove 4 hours to see), Stephens has rarely disappointed when matched against someone willing to bang with him. At the same time, Edwards has always been willing to do whatever he has to do for an exciting tilt, whether it means him throwing crazy strikes or being willing to take it to the ground. Both have contributed to the all-time UFC highlight reel, and I the fight at UFC on Fox 5 has the potential to be able to do the same.
So, needless to say, I am really looking forward to Stephens and Edwards finally going at it. I just hope that, before coming up with this booking, the UFC has been smart enough to look into any outstanding warrants that either fighter may or may not have in the state of Washington (whether valid or not).